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Comment Key Factor (Score 1) 284

The huge key factor in the linked article is "warrants."

Rather than a mass collection of data on the off chance some number of things in the data might be useful sometime, this is a very targeted search for a very specific document discovered via a search with a properly issued warrant. There are checks and balances in the system for reasons. Currently, things have swung to far to "collect everything in case we need it!" On the other side of the spectrum is "Collect nothing. Privacy is absolute." Somewhere in the middle is the appropriate area that balances the needs of societal protection against individual privacy rights. That pendulum will always swing. Wherever it happens to be, some group will always be unhappy.

Comment Re:Not all H1B positions are equal (Score 1) 331

"Market Rates" are usually quite slanted in the favor of employers. The market rates are also depressed artificially by the H1-B workers already in the country. The legal departments at tech firms tend to be careful to speak of "shortages of qualified applicants." In this case, "shortage" means people willing to work in the location for the amount offered.

I'd like to see the hiring organizations increase salary by 20-50% over "market rates" in steps and see how many qualified candidates they get. Welcome to the free market and supply and demand in the labor market.

Submission + - Justice officials fear nation's biggest wiretap operation may not be legal (

schwit1 writes: Federal drug agents have built a massive wiretapping operation in the Los Angeles suburbs, secretly intercepting tens of thousands of Americans’ phone calls and text messages to monitor drug traffickers across the United States despite objections from Justice Department lawyers who fear the practice may not be legal.

Nearly all of that surveillance was authorized by a single state court judge in Riverside County, who last year signed off on almost five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge’s orders allowed investigators — usually from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — to intercept more than 2 million conversations involving 44,000 people, federal court records show.

Submission + - PostgreSQL getting parallel query 1

iamvego writes: A major feature PostgreSQL users have requested for some time now is to have the query planner "parallelize" a query. Now, thanks to Robert Haas and Amit Kapila, this has now materialized in the 9.6 branch. Robert Haas writes in his blog entry that so far it only supports splitting up a sequential scan between multiple workers, but should hopefully be extended to work with multiple partitions before the final release, and much more beside in future releases.

Submission + - Tech Pros' Struggle for Work-Life Balance Continues (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Work-life balance among technology professionals is very much in the news following a much-discussed New York Times article about workday conditions at Amazon. That piece painted a picture of a harsh workplace where employees literally cried at their desks. While more tech companies are publicly talking about the need for work-life balance, do the pressures of delivering revenues, profits, and products make much of that chatter mere lip-service? Or are companies actually doing their best to ensure their workers are treated like human beings with lives outside of work?

Comment Deal with it firmly but appropriately (Score 4, Interesting) 1127

Isn't part of the hacker ethos that the code rules? Who cares the age, sex, color, national origin, or creed of the writer? Do any of these factors make for better or worse code? If not, then differentiators based on those factors have no place in the hacker culture.

Any type of harassment needs to be dealt with rapidly, firmly, and appropriately. At the hacker cons I've attended, I've been fortunate to attend sessions with female presenters. I've also had the opportunity to interact with female attendees and found them to be logical, intelligent, and well spoken. I go to such cons to learn, network, and have some fun. Playing grabass just isn't on the menu. Such things are the province of small minds with no social skills. I'm all for harassers getting a swift kick - or several. I have a feeling though that the goons wouldn't be enamored with that idea.

I'm old enough to have been in the military before, during, and after the 1991 Tailhook incident. Hopefully the pendulum won't swing so far in the other direction that personnel are tossed and/or banned based on unsubstantiated allegations. There are very real incidents that need to be dealt with firmly. There are also invented incidents that should result in sanctions against the person making the false allegations.


Comment Re:...however, (Score 2) 339

Some classes are enhanced by interaction with the professor, other students, and invaluable hands-on lab time. Other classes can be completed online without losing any of the value. Take for example the common core classes of mathematics, liberal arts, history, etc. Does the student gain anything by physically sitting in a classroom? If these classes can be taken care of online for little cost then the student's scarce time and treasure can be leveraged to attend only the courses which benefit from interaction and lab time in a physical university setting.

The key is to select the appropriate tool for the appropriate task. Online isn't always the answer. In residence isn't always the answer. Having additional tools and methods available can make things more efficient.

Comment Competirors Deploy It - No and Yes (Score 1) 117

When it comes to Netflix competitors, there are two main issues in the game:

1) Will they exempt Netflix content from their data caps - No. For as long as possible, providers with competing VoD services will continue to count the Netflix content against data caps while exempting their own offerings. This one is a no-brainer.

2) Will they provide the space, power, and cooling to host the boxes within their networks - Yes. Whatever their competing offerings, bandwidth still costs money. At the very least, peering with Netflix at the listed exchange points will likely reduce transit costs. Given the somewhat sparse availability of peering points, I expect to see large metro ISPs consider putting the devices in their datacenters.

Comment Re:I work for an ISP (Score 1) 345

Now you have a DSA with 10 customers on it, 5 wanted 3MB service, the feds paid to have 2 T1 lines installed. That will work, and they likely wont have any bandwidth problems. Fast forward 3 years. You now have 10 customers on the DSA, they ALL have 5MB service and ALL have netflix accounts. Hence the situation you are in. The customers demand the ISP upgrade. Those 10 customers combined are paying about $350/month total. To add more trunks to the DSA will cost $300k. It's not hard to do the math there... it's not going to happen. So then they go to the local government and ask them to complain again... the local government says "You have internet, what are you complaining about?" and the feds? They got their 95%+ served number for the next election, they don't care about you.

Having worked for a DLEC and a couple of CLECs, Charliemopps very likely hit the nail on the head. The DSLAM or DSA (equivalent in this case) is likely fed with 2-4 DS1s on an IMUX. During the day, you have little contention for the 3-6Mbps of bandwidth. In the evening, when everyone else comes home, your speed drops significantly. This is normal and expected. It only takes a few customers running bandwidth intensive apps to consume the available bandwidth. There are solutions to prevent a few piggy users from consuming almost all the bandwidth. Those solutions require deployment of either hardware or software and additional management. Given that the ISP/telco is almost certainly losing money on the service they are currently providing, they are unlikely to deploy those capabilities to the local CO.

If you do some digging and troubleshooting, is there a pingable address on the DSLAM or does it pass through at Layer-2? If you can ping the DSLAM and beyond it, you can figure out whether the slowdown is on your subscriber loop or on the connection from the DSLAM deeper into the ISPs network. Opening trouble tickets on your subscriber loop isn't going to fix a bandwidth contention issue. While it is possible there is an issue on the subscriber loop, my money is on bandwidth contention from the DSLAM. You might get some attention to a bandwidth contention issue with the trouble tickets. The IMUX equipment I'm familiar with ranges from 4-8 DS1s. If the IMUX isn't already maxed out on DS1 interfaces, you may see some relief. If the IMUX is already maxed out, you're probably not going to see much change. In a money losing situation, you're unlikely to see an upgrade to DS-3 backhaul or anything faster for a rural DSLAM.



Make-A-Wish Builds A Millennium Falcon Fort For Boy 94

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a production crew from Little Mountain Productions, a 9-year-old is getting the best fort ever. The crew is making him a Star Wars-themed fort with a gigantic Millennium Falcon with solar-powered LED interior and exterior lighting to sit on top. No word on how fast it can make the Kessel run, but lets hope the kid gets a long trip.

Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."

Scientists To Breed the Auroch From Extinction 277

ImNotARealPerson writes "Scientists in Italy are hoping to breed back from extinction the mighty auroch, a bovine species which has been extinct since 1627. The auroch weighed 2,200 pounds (1000kg) and its shoulders stood at 6'6". The beasts once roamed most of Asia and northern Africa. The animal was depicted in cave paintings and Julius Caesar described it as being a little less in size than an elephant. A member of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology suggests that 99% of the auroch's DNA can be recreated from genetic material found in surviving bone material. Wikipedia mentions that researchers in Poland are working on the same problem."

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"

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